Here’s a cool find by Andrew Porter: An on-set interview with the folks involved in the filming of Destination Moon, including director Irving Pichel, producer George Pal, writer Robert Heinlein, and artist Chesley Bonestell (who acted as technical advisor). Great historical value here…
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: During the Vietnam War, Oscar Gordon finds himself recruited to an epic quest to another world to obtain a MacGuffin and win The Girl, and discovers that is only half the story.
PROS: Excellent audiobook adaptation; high concept of satire of fantasy hero tropes more relevant now than when written; a waterfall of neat ideas.
CONS: Problems with the major female character; plotting issues in the second half; overbearing politics.
BOTTOM LINE: An interesting if badly imperfect audiobook adaptation of a classic Heinlein work.
Glory Road is one of the relatively few forays Robert A. Heinlein made into fantasy and it’s the only novel-length one he wrote. Having read the book years ago, I decided to listen to the audiobook on a recently long driving trip.
Carrie Cuinn is a writer, editor, book historian, small press publisher, computer geek, & raconteur. In her spare time she reads, makes things, takes other things apart, and sometimes gets a new tattoo. Learn more at carriecuinn.com.
Some of the most read, and most loved, early science fiction novels are set in places where only the hero of the tale has a chance at a enviable life. Golden Age SF especially, with its focus on adventure stories and cold-war era morality plays, often describes bleak home worlds from which the main character has to escape to survive, or dystopian worlds from which escape is impossible. Though usually presented as the highest form of man, even the heroes have lives absorbed by trying to break free from an oppressive or rigidly controlled society. If the landscape doesn’t kill you, the locals probably will.
Here are five examples of terrible vacation spots:
REVIEW SUMMARY: Continuing from the guilty pleasure of the voyueristic look at the pulp author heros of my childhood in The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, Malmont follows Heinlein, Asimov and other science fiction giants as fact meets fiction again in a race to create super-weapons and super defences against the Axis in World War II.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: John Campbell assembles a team of science fiction writers to work with the Government during World War II. Led by Robert Heinlein and joined by Isaac Asimov and others, the team works to make science fiction a reality to help the war effort. Lost manuscripts and testing notes from Nikola Tesla lead the team on a merry chase for a super-weapon that could end the war.
PROS: As with The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, hard to tell where fact ends and fiction begins; great tie-ins with the previous novel; believable characterizations of our heroes, Heinlein and Asimov.
CONS: My mama always told me that voyeurism was bad, but in this case I’ll make an exception. (Sorry, Mom!)
BOTTOM LINE: Picks up where the first book left off; with strong characterizations of Heinlein and Asimov, and return appearances by Gibson, Dent and Hubbard, an enjoyable blend of historical fact with adventure fiction.